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Old 06-10-2014, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Living near our Nation's Capitol since 2010
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Normally, I would say I dislike Cancun, but my partner and I decided to try an AI there a few years ago. We selected the Omni AI...it was really, really nice. There were a number of restaurants and the food was great. We aren't big drinkers, but there were lots of folks enjoying what the offered there.
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Saint Paul, MN
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I think you tend to get the most bang for your buck in the Cancun/Riviera Maya area. Flights from the Northeast are frequent and relatively inexpensive, and the high level of competition between properties works to keep prices down and amenities up. To be frank, I personally do not find Cancun to be all that compelling, but if you consider the resort to be your destination, then your actual surroundings beyond those property lines don't matter all that much.

I hear fantastic feedback on the food and service at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya. That property just opened, and their Heaven section is adults-only. I think it may be beyond your stated budget, though. If you factor in around $600 each for air from various Northeast locations, that leaves about $650 per person for accommodations. Hard Rock is likely to be a perhaps a hundred or so more than that for a 4-night stay. It is worth checking out nonetheless. Or perhaps you will find cheaper air that leaves you more money to play with on the hotel side.

There are also several Secrets properties in the Riviera Maya. I prefer the Secrets Silversands, but I don't believe you can go wrong with the Secrets brand in general. The strengths I pointed out with regard to the Secrets in Cabo also apply to their properties elsewhere. (There is also a ZoŽtry in the Riviera Maya, but it would blow your budget to smithereens.)
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:27 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
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I'm not an AI kinda girl, but after reading your post #10, I thought "COSTA RICA."
We visited there and it is EXACTLY what you describe. And reasonably accessible to the NE USA cities. I still say stretch this trip out to 7 days.

if you need a great and honest travel agent for Costa Rica, shoot me a PM.
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,104 posts, read 24,877,263 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StPaulGal View Post
I know United has nonstops out of Newark to SJD. And the time difference works to your favor: you leave at 9:30 AM and get in shortly after 1 PM local time. Leave mid afternoon and get home before the evening news. I'm sure other major Northeast airports have similar offerings. It is entirely a matter of personal preference, but I would rather spend a bit more time in transit to reach somewhere that delivered what I was looking for rather than having a couple of extra hours in a runner-up destination. I would say that goes double for something being billed as the "trip of a lifetime".
That's ridiculous for a 4 day trip. No offense to o/p but that's a 4 day quick getaway not the trip of a lifetime.

You also forgot the slow travel time to and from the airport in Cabo...been there many times coming from the NE
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:08 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
13,104 posts, read 24,877,263 times
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Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
I'm not an AI kinda girl, but after reading your post #10, I thought "COSTA RICA."
We visited there and it is EXACTLY what you describe. And reasonably accessible to the NE USA cities. I still say stretch this trip out to 7 days.

if you need a great and honest travel agent for Costa Rica, shoot me a PM.
Been there as well and it is awesome but again IMO not feasible for a 4 day trip. There is so much to see and do you need at least a week.

4 day trip from the NE you want to keep the flight at around 3 hours, so imo the upper Caribbean, Bahamas...Puerto Rico...or not the caribbean but Bermuda, even Cancuun is more feasible.

Even the Southern Caribbean like Aruba, ST Lucia the flight is too long from the NE for just 4 days.
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Savannah GA/Lk Hopatcong NJ
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Originally Posted by caco54 View Post
Thanks for all the info so far. The kids are just starting out in their careers so I don't want to chew up too much of their limited vacation time on a trip with "Mom and Dad". Four days works for all of us. They are all college grads and seasoned travelers with passports. Looks like surfing and probably golf are off the plate and it appears we are destined for the Caribbean because of travel time. Now once again we need really good food and no kids. Picking up the tab for the 8 of us I was looking to spend around $10,000. Keep the recommendations coming. Thanks
I would say Sandals in Bahamas but your talking a total of 8 people and $10K isn't going to cut it with airfare. You're looking at $1250 available per person which with air isn't going to get much.
Sandals is beautiful and no one under 18 can stay so you don't have little kiddies buzzing around but again 10K won't do it.

Second thougt would be Cancun, they do have AI but not sure of the $$$ as it's been years since I went to Cancun. Also you don't want to be anywhere near that place during "Spring Break".


You may want to rethink this and maybe go somewhere here in the US, of course it wouldn't be AI but a 4 day getaway to places in Colorado, Montana, New Orleans, Savannah, San Antonio, Smoky Mtns in TN, the NC outer banks or just about anywhere in FL,

You can also look at Vacation Rentals by Owners; Vacations For Rent By Owner where you may be able to rent a huge house, pool , much cheaper than 4 hotel rooms.

Good luck and hey let's us know what you decide.
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Old 06-14-2014, 07:57 AM
 
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The best AI experience we've had was at the Dreams resort in Puerto Vallarta. The food was exceptional. Looks like Dreams is in Cancun and DR - much closer to the East Coast. They are still highly reviewed on Tripadvisor. I don't think they are adult only - to avoid kids and spring breakers - maybe late January or early February is a better time to travel. Better prices in January too.

Cruises sound cheap but look out on the 3 and 4 day options. We took a 3 day Carnival Miami-Bahamas with our daughter and her friends for her 21 birthday. I assumed it would be full of people escaping Miami for the weekend. NOT!!!!!! Take the worst from your local Wal-Mart, and fill a cruise ship with it. Keep this in mind when you are choosing your vacation and keeping in budget. Not to sound like a snob, but the cheaper the price will dictate who you will be vacationing with.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:37 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,571,346 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caco54 View Post
Thanks for all the info so far. The kids are just starting out in their careers so I don't want to chew up too much of their limited vacation time on a trip with "Mom and Dad". Four days works for all of us. They are all college grads and seasoned travelers with passports. Looks like surfing and probably golf are off the plate and it appears we are destined for the Caribbean because of travel time. Now once again we need really good food and no kids. Picking up the tab for the 8 of us I was looking to spend around $10,000. Keep the recommendations coming. Thanks
Here's what I would suggest. Book rooms at one of the really nice resorts on one of the islands that you can actually get to from the Northeast in under five hours. (That rules out most of the Southern Caribbean and smaller islands.)

Some suggestions would be Caneel bay in St. John (offers packages which include some or all meals), Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman or St. Thomas, Halfmoon Rose Hall in Jamaica, Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda, or the Reefs in Bermuda. All of those will have excellent food and a casual yet elegant atmosphere.

Don't worry about the all-inclusive part. In all honesty, the likelihood of using everything including is slim, and you'd be better off paying ala carte, as things like motorized activities (jet skis, scooters, etc.), golf, and spa services are seldom if ever included. If it ends up being a rainy trip, you will have paid for a lot of things that will not be used at all.

Just plan on picking up the tab for everything, your children can charge all their activities to their room key and that can be tied to your credit card.

The other option would be to rent an estate--you could rent a four bedroom/four bath private luxury estate with infinity pool on the beach in St. Maarten for $1200 per night, and through the rental company, hire a housekeeper and chef to clean daily and prepare a dinner every night for another $1000 or less for the four nights. That will leave you with enough to play golf every day and possibly even fly everyone first class to the island. St. Maarten is safe and small enough that it's no more than about 30 minutes from Princess Julianna airport to anywhere on the island. There are many daily direct flights between the northeast hub airports and St. Maarten.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:39 AM
 
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PS--I agree, there is no 3-4 day cruise that I would ever suggest, unless you are taking along children and want to go on Disney out of Port Canaveral.
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